Cheryl was once the darling of the British media. A break from her career to focus on her family and wellbeing has seen her take a shameful amount of criticism. With an article reporting that her figure was removed from Madame Tussauds because the singer was no longer ‘relevant,’ Jennifer McShane wonders if a male entertainer would be subjected to the same thing.
The entertainment industry is nothing if not fickle. You’re hot one minute or a has been the next, but if you’re a female, the stakes in this way aren’t exactly even. You’ll get ridiculed no matter what. You might have a hit movie as Lady Gaga recently did but there’ll still be Reddit threads devoted to posting before and after photos of your face as ‘fans’ painstakingly point out the number of fillers you must have had.
Or, say you’re Brad Pitt. You’re 55 and you don’t work as much as you used to, but you also have a hit movie. Yet you’re praised for looking as good as ever. See the 10k tweets which are like this:
brad pitt….that’s it that’s the tweet pic.twitter.com/49J9yUpZTN
— talia guzman (@taliaguzman99) August 9, 2019
Cheryl, of Cole-Fernandez-Versini-Tweedy fame, is also back in the limelight after taking a break from the public eye to have her son Bear. She’s come back in slowly, releasing a couple of singles and taking part in TV series. It hasn’t all been plain sailing – some of the backlash last year was particularly disgusting – but she’s certainly busy. It’s clear her priorities have changed – she herself has said this in interviews since – but she is still very much in public life.
The article that came out over the weekend detailed how her wax figure was being removed Madame Tussauds with the following headline: ‘Cheryl’s waxwork removed from Madame Tussauds ‘as she’s no longer relevant.”
It’s a horrible article, which goes to great lengths to point out that the X Factor judge has seen her singing career “stall” and her profile “diminished” in recent years, thereby concluding that because she isn’t relevance, she no longer deserves her wax figure. She “doesn’t fit the bill as a recognisable enough celebrity” apparently. The article diminishes any of her previous achievements and was clearly written simply to smear her. She doesn’t deserve to be seen, is what the piece actually says.
Tussauds themselves say that it is normal enough to alternate their wax figures from time to time but it’s the article that took the harsh angle and belittled Cheryl and her career.
There’s no denying it’s rooted in sexism. Every piece that has spoken of her comeback has mentioned of her time out to care for her son – we almost never see that written about male figures who have had children and return to work.
Meghan Markle is a prime recent example. She was criticised for returning “too early” and Prince Harry resumed his duties three days after the birth of his son without a word.
The main thing here is that it’s so uncalled for. So unnecessary to take a woman to task over something that is minor. They removed the figure. So what? It doesn’t diminish her or her career.
It might be easier to ignore the piece but we need to keep publically saying that this type of treatment towards women in the public eye will never be okay.